I slept well and I slept sound, drifting off, regretting and cursing the one striking difference I should have noticed long ago between the French and people; some sense of humour, but digging deep, all I find are douche bags.
Burnett had seen a donkey’s bum too close, but when he slept, he crumpled the night with his writhing wrists, lips puckered up, cheeks bulging and eyelids trembling. A little robin perched lightly on one of his bandaged legs. So sorry Steve that youre not a real Teddy bear, a sorry man for all that. The morning would be my time for questions and I could only hope for answers. I turned to dreams. I was hired sporadically by Steve’s foundation, I worked as a distinguished yet underpaid spy, dispatched on secret missions to unearth discrepancies and unseasonal fare. Seek out discourtesy, short change, half measures, French mustard, slacking and wild boar pie; with with carrots!
The short-cuts taken to make a Kronecker or two, Shortcrust to bate your breath. I was explicitly instructed to make difficulties, to be British with a uncongenial smile, to feign abnormality just before the check-out, then insinuate a foreigners odd request. Be a vegetarian or a Belgian vegan. Ha! You been pickin my berries S’il vous plait? The hours when I would like to take my bath were of course strictly none of their business, but my desires for fresh mussels relentless. Where may I find a fairly priced wrapped tuna fish sandwich boy, or where in the store, pray, may I take a good crepe? I was to be well-mannered yet stick a stick right between their spokes; and when the job was over, I reported back to Ernesto in the car.
“I was never a real bear,” Steve told me, clearly disappointed. A man in a bear suit! Just before I scissor your autistic ass.
“Oh, dear shit! I am so frightfully sorry, meine Frau, Was machts?”
“A matter to report directly to the management, thats what the matter is.”
It was another few days before I dared peek into my rusty wing mirror, only to find that Chester had continued his hapless progress down the foggy grove; choking and whimpering his way to a gatehouse, through which he made his bungling escape.
The next morning I had a fury of a hangover and in no condition to take any of Matthew’s or anybody elses bullshit. The debate which ensued was in its sum and progress an epitome of the course of life.
“Steve, youre lying, what about those documentaries and the poem?”*
“Oh the poem, yes.” Steve looked at me bitterly but without regret.
“Just like those films on the tellyvisual, crafted with pride by Lebensmittel-großhandlung.”
He wasnt joking now, not at all, go configure.
“Didnt you even notice all the manufactured names of cyclists: Baresa, Yogosan, Belarom? They are all nasty in store trademarks, brand names because they think we need them, names that would make you laugh if it weren’t for the heartbreaking heroics of the stragglers in the Pyrenees and the bruising pileups in the final sprint.”
“But what about Bono? How do you explain him away then?”
“How does anyone explain away Bono? He’s just a fat pillock in cheap sunglasses and thats how Prince Ernesto likes his managers; work more to eat more, he pays them in food. All his stores have a Bono or a Griffin, just wait till you see the security guards.”
“You pair of lying toe-rags!” I faced them square, whispering farts the both of them. How could they do this to me? Eric the drop-out, living by his wits or lack of them: Davy Crockett! King of the Non Sequitur in American blue jeans and three years at Harvard! Then the phoney loco-cyclist turns out to be a blackmailing spy in the retail grocery trade.
Those two had been in cahoots and for some considerable time, now let me think. That restaurant, the first time we all met, Steve had planned it all! Then my solo beer drinking career when I went missing, presumed having a good time for several weeks or two, they were living together for all that time. All that winking, cold collusion and pretended badly concealed homosexuality. Little black books and barbarian yellow dressing-gowns?
Well, what do you expect me to say now? What do you expect me to do? I’ll tell you, I’m going to walk, I’m going home, back to a solitary life of truth and gruesome deliberation…slippery and incontinent scum!”
“Wait a minute Rodney.” Matthew interrupted me, as if he found it all so amusing, “why dont you tell them the truth about yourself for once?” The blasted cheek of the man.
“Yes Rod, come on we have both come clean with you.“ Steve was challenging. “ We’ve suffered, now its your turn.”
They were right in a way I suppose, Steve had just moved in next door to me, out of the blue so to speak. All he had said was Bonjour and I had taken him in, under my wing. A friend in need is a friend at last. But still they were lying cheating swine and I was badly hurt. These friends of mine had found companionship through means of intoxication and it had made them homey. but I do not use drugs to hide my solitude, it is all I have, and when the drugs and alcohol melt away, that will be all they have too. It is a mistake to think you can solve any problem at all with alcohol, drugs or tinned tomatoes.
“Well Rodney?” All three were looking at me as if they needed a piss.
Cut the trousers in two! I thought. Only give them one half!
“Come on Rodney!”
“All right my friends, you shall have your pound. Why not? Why ever not? You should have known, all of you, fools that you are that Ruritania is and always has been an absolute monarchy. No parliament and no bloody Prime Minister! No sirs, I was for the seven long years preceding my glorious departure King Ludo’s Chief of Police!”
“Crap!” Said Eric with more harshness than I thought necessary. “No, I meant Holy Crap! Rod.”
Then, reading aloud from page three of the regional newspaper that Matt for some strange reason must have had delivered, as it bore today’s date.
“We’ve got ourselves a problem lads, listen to this: Saint-Tropez, ville sous le choc…”
“Eric! Shut up. How do you expect me to understand French at this time of day with a filthy pounding headache” I shot a particularly nasty look at Mr Gloag.
“OK Rod I’ll find the online version and run it through Google Translate; I’m telling you this really is big time shit.”
I read the thing twice over, but here it is just once. Enjoy, for soon we will be on our way.
Saint-Tropez: A town under the shock. Since yesterday published were stunning statistical evidence that this sunny southern town has exceeded all known records of winter tourist frequentation. Its reputation as the second rudest destination after Paris has been bitterly outcast; politeness and bonhomie are now the rule rather than the explanation. Hoards are flocking there to revel and imbibulate, a veritable flash-mob phenomenon of gigantic proportionality. All this to arouse the suspicion of commander Etienne Moron, officer in charge of the judiciary to the Gendarmerie of the city.
Customer files, shops, restaurants, cafes and bars have been scrutinized and many have been proven to be fans of cannabis droppings. Scenes of jollity, correct billing and rectitude left a stunned commissioner stunned:
One producer of cannabis were visited by police the past five days said many customers are fans of shit the natural grows or deposited.” Said a spokesman.
“Nucky balls are a really discreet way to consume. We are sure of what we consumate and not no way against the law it being the shit of donkeys.” Say the advocates of this type of manure. Some even decided to report openly and set up an association. Association or not, consume its own production of drugs is illegal.
The phenomenon is not so trivial as that. The floor is gone on the offensive in favour of an investigation initiated by the police in the Var. “They decided to continue their investigation and target lovers culture chambers and fertilizers of “Canadian boost”!
One targets are identified, young people, two girls reportedly springing from the Kingdom United and rather socially integrated.
“The goal, says the prosecutor, Nicolas Bargeot is to control the use that was made of this drug. It was to put an end to an activity that is illegal today, and assess whether these people were in a logical traffic or a personal attack against the state.
“If these two people, already known to the court, had enrolled in a logical traffic. They are to be called to justice. Fifteen more, who were confined to a limited consumption, are being recalled in the law. seventy-one tourists, who consumed more regularly, will follow a course of awareness of the dangers of drugs. Finally, forty-four restaurant owners condemned for daily food preparation and consumption, sometimes combined with other drugs, should take special care. “There is a real public health problem, says the attorney especially for those who take to flying.”
“Well now” I said politely but I admit hurriedly to Matt, “I thank you for your hospitality and instructive dinner, but as Louie Louie so rightly said: We gotta go now.”
“Zwei, Fier, sechs, acht Autubahn!” Cried Steve. Homeward through the haze.